The Guide Michelin 2018 for Germany is finally out, and there are a couple of surprises in store in terms of unexpected, new Michelin stars for Berlin restaurants. The new guide had three stars in store for Berlin restaurants and cements the status of the German capital as the republic’s leading fine dining destination with a total of 21 Michelin starred restaurants. On a nationwide level, the 2018 guide sets a new record by breaking the magical number of 300 Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany, a number only beaten by the Michelin motherland France.
“The new guide had three stars in store for Berlin restaurants and cements the status of the German capital as the republic’s leading fine dining destination with a total of 21 Michelin starred restaurants.”
The efforts of the recent years by the German Guide Michelin to reach a broader audience and embrace the Zeitgeist have resulted in a widened focus from classical fine dining to include in the the casual fine dining and vegetarian realms. In the last years this policy change gave restaurants like Bandol Sur Mer and Richard stars, eateries that had been cooking pretty much the same, superb food for years before they all of a sudden received star recognition for their work. The talks before the release of this year’s guide were mainly about whether a. Golvet would receive a star and b. wether the outside-the-box-thinking restaurant, Ernst had opened in time to greet the Michelin inspectors through the door. And if they had made it, would they deign this controversial and utterly minimalist project worthy of any stars? The answer is no, Ernst is not mentioned in the 2018 guide. Which, in my humble opinion, is entirely correct, as Ernst didn’t open in time and therefore shouldn’t get any special attention. By being left out of this year’s guide, the project also gets enough time to fine-tune its offering until next year.
“It did turn out that my prediction for Golvet was true..”
When it comes to new stars there were 29 new stars awarded across the whole of Germany and a total three of those were awarded to Berlin. It did turn out that my prediction for Golvet did come true, the new fine-dining project, which replaced the old 40seconds club venue hovering on the 14th floor behind Potsdamer Platz, was elevated into the exclusive club of Michelin-starred restaurants. This exorbitantly well-funded restaurant definitely expected to play in the upper fine-dining league from the start, and its star confirms its ambitions.
The other two stars were definitely more of a shocker, first up we have Kreuzberg’s Tulus lotrek, the casual restaurant project that’s been cooking very solid food for the last two years received one star along with Heinz “Cookie” Gindullis’ and Stephan Hentschel’s legendary vegetarian restaurant, Cookies Cream, which celebrated its tenth birthday this summer.
“The other two stars were definitely more of a shocker”
And there was also a new entry to the Bib Gourmand league, a special section of the Michelin guide which honours exceptional 3-course meals costing less than 37€. This year, Frühsammers Restaurant bistro Grundschlag in Wilmersdorf joined the likes of Lokal, Cordobar and Rutz Weinbar as one of Berlin’s 11 Bib Gourmand holders.
“…it means that Germany’s Michelin guide is increasingly keen to broaden its audience, a desire that’s associated with certain peril.”
What does all this mean? Well, first of all it means Berlin still doesn’t have a three-star restaurant – entirely correct in my opinion. Secondly, it means that Germany’s Michelin guide is increasingly keen to broaden its audience, a desire that’s associated with certain peril. Should Tulus Lotrek have a star? Sure, I’ve never truly loved the food but it’s a great experience and service has always been impeccable. Should Cookies Cream suddenly have a star? After years of cooking similar things? Why not, it’s by far the best and coolest vegetarian restaurant in Berlin and Stephan Hentschel is a sensational chef. Awarding these stars does however, once again, fundamentally change the game and I’m not sure if this development actually is positive. If Tulus Lotrek gets a star, why not Lode & Stijn or even Mrs. Robinsons’s? And not to mention CODA, the restaurant that by this line of thought deserves a star more than anybody else. The true achievement of this policy is not to be no inclusive, but really to diminish the value of the one-star achievement and affect the Michelin brand value. It also creates enormous thresholds to the two-star status. If you’re launching a serious fine dining project in Germany today, you now essentially have to aim for two stars from the start. And as a side-note, I sense a certain lack of restaurants on the list that aren’t run by German chefs. The Michelin Guide is certainly reinventing itself and we have probably only seen the start of a fundamental restructuring of the world’s most famous restaurant guide.
Here is the full list of the 2018 Michelin stars in Berlin:
2 STARS **
1 STAR *
Golvet | Swanson, Björn (NEW)
tulus lotrek | Strohe, Max (NEW)
Cookies Cream | Hentschel, Stephan (NEW)
Frühsammers| Frühsammer, Sonja
Hugos | Lange, Eberhard
5 – cinco by Paco Pérez | Rehberger, Andreas
Pauly Saal | Anker, Arne
SKYKITCHEN flavored by a.choice | Koppe, Alexander
Nobelhart & Schmutzig | Schäfer, Micha
Bandol Sur Mer | Saul, Andreas
Bieberbau | Garkisch, Stephan
Markus Semmler | Semmler, Markus
Richard | Richard, Hans
einsunternull | Rieger, Andreas